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Niki Achitoff-Gray

Niki Achitoff-Gray

Associate Editor

Niki is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into oysters, offal, and most edible things. You can follow her on Twitter @eatandcry.

  • Website
  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Favorite foods: Ceviche of virtually any nature, pulled pork dripping in BBQ sauce, pork belly. Pizzapizzapizza. Also: radishes, poached eggs, soft stinky cheese, shiitakes, braised octopus, sour beers, super dark chocolate, oysters, and raw clams. Did I mention pizza? I like pizza.
  • Last bite on earth: A massive platter of oysters circling a plate of steak tartare would do the trick. Mmm dangerous raw things.

Happy Birthday, America! Your Complete July 4th Recipe Guide

We love ourselves a simple cookout with store-bought hot-dogs and beef patties, but when it comes to honoring our country's birthday, we like to go with some time-honored American panache. Not sure where to start? Independence Day may just be mere hours away, but there's more than enough time to cook up a panache-filled storm. We've pulled together dozens—nay, scores!—of our tried-and-true recipes for grilled steak and burgers, homemade hot dogs, veggies, slaws, and classic desserts, plus loads of refreshing drinks to wash it all down.

So quit hanging out around here and head on over to our Fourth of July Entertaining Guide »


20 Eggplant Recipes for Summer

Eggplant's a mighty versatile vegetable. Not only does it play well with others, but it whips up into creamy dips; adds sweet and smoky flavor to grilled sides; and absorbs braising liquids and marinades for rich, meaty mains. We've pulled together 20 of our favorite eggplant recipes to make the most of summer's bounty. More

Eating Roasted Alligator and Spider-on-a-Stick at the Explorer's Club 110th Annual Gala

As befits an association boasting a membership roster of astronauts, astrophysicists, archaeologists, and myriad other contemporary explorers, The Explorer's Club 110th Annual Dinner kicked off with an adventuresome foray into the world of exotic dining. We swung by for the cocktail hour, featuring a menu ranging from whole animals to their less commonly savored parts (think many a nether-region), along with insects and other invertebrates, created by chef-scientist Gene Rurka. More

Serious Entertaining: A True Detective Dinner Party Menu

Sunday marks the season finale of my new favorite nightmare / widely acclaimed HBO series, True Detective. And if there's one thing I've learned from watching this particular mystery unfold, it's that the show is ripe with allusion. To food. Also, I'm told, to some other things, like death, Nietzsche, and the occult. Here's what we'll be eating. More

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

Grains have been a staple of the human diet for the last, oh, 10,000 years. And if you think about it properly—by which I mean with a few debatable leaps of logic and some generous omissions—grains are also basically responsible for all the best things: beer, adorable pets, beds, cheesy popcorn, and, yes, internet. In that fertile crescent-agricultural revolution-cradle of civilization sense, that is.

But have you ever listened to someone wax rhapsodic about the delights of whole grains and thought to yourself, meh? Welcome to the club that I totally just quit.


Serious Entertaining: A Bavarian-Style Alpine Feast

On a family ski trip a few years back, my father and I wound up dining at a certain unnamed restaurant in Taos, New Mexico, where the overarching theme was lederhosen, braided pigtails, lots of logs, and steins und steins of beer. Snowed into my apartment in New York City, I've taken to reminiscing about the quaint atmosphere, charming in its unabashed artificiality—the folk music and ye olde German fonts, the tiled wood-burning stove, and, most importantly, the hearty Bavarian fare. Here's how to bring some of that flavor home. More

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

My boyfriend and I are coming up on our six-year anniversary, and though we love each other dearly, we seem to have left the honeymoon phase of our relationship back in college. Would a single aphrodisiac be powerful enough to combat our five-plus years of accumulated farts, burps, and dissipating sense of mystery? I did some highly scientific calculations and concluded that our chances of, erm, success would be exponentially improved if we force-fed ourselves all the aphrodisiacs. More

10 Great Ways to Buffalo Sauce Your Food

@scaramoche, guess it's time for us to do some more recipe development!

Serious Entertaining: A 5-Course French Meal for Your Bastille Day Fête

@Gina_ that makes 2 of us!

@findingmykd, SO JEALOUS. Like, crying, foot-stomping, tantrum-throwing jealous.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@RaptorEsq, Desert Dryad, lay off my backyard! It's an outside place and for some of us, there is no more precious commodity. (also, yes, it looks like a prison yard. but one where I get to grow herbs and take naps and grill/smoke awesome foods.)

@ginghampirate, thanks! it's from Urban Outfitters (sigh). And it's a romper!

Behind the Scenes at One of Italy's Top Risotto Rice Producers

@cronkz, apologies -- that was an utterly absent-minded error on this busy editor's end. I've corrected the title.

@amandarama, frackle we decided to make some revisions to the structure of the original post; it was removed from the stream and republished this week. Hope that clarifies.

Tamales de Queso (Cheese Tamales) From 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

Sorry folks, fixing now!

What's the Best Way to Cook Whole Grains?

@V_for_Vendetta, you'll recipes, application ideas, and detailed descriptions in our grains guide. Hope that helps!

A Flavor-Packed Father's Day Menu for Dad

@barbarad, my usage was indeed intentionally grammatically incorrect (though I just so happen to be a she). I'm well aware of the distinction between good and well--just a little humor.

A Flavor-Packed Father's Day Menu for Dad

@barbarad, my usage was indeed intentionally grammatically incorrect (though I just so happen to be a she). I'm well aware of the distinction between good and well--just a little humor.

Eggplant Meatballs From 'The VB6 Cookbook'

@veganwithayoyo, I guess it's hard to just call them..."eggplant balls"?

Eggplant Meatballs From 'The VB6 Cookbook'

Sorry folks, it's up and running now!

Cooking Fats 101: What's Up With Saturated and Unsaturated Fats?

@ymandel, is there some more explanation or simplification you'd like to see, and if so, of what parts? My goal is accessibility for laypersons, though obviously the subject matter is a little self-selecting. I'm happy to elaborate more, add more diagrams/illustrations, etc!

Cooking Fats 101: What's Up With Saturated and Unsaturated Fats?

@A Serial Cereal Eater, there are very few naturally occurring trans fats, and those that do exist naturally in certain meat and dairy products exist in lower proportion than they do in man-made products. A fully hydrogenated (or saturated) fat could not be a trans fat, because the structure of trans fat relies on the absence of hydrogen atoms from the fatty acid chain. Also, keep in mind that those terms can only be strictly applied to a fatty acid, not a fat molecule (or triglyceride), which is composed 3 fatty acids! Hope that answers your question, though again, I'm not comfortable offering any health evaluations!

Cooking Fats 101: What's Up With Saturated and Unsaturated Fats?

@VeganWithaYoYo, thanks for your take. I hope it's clear that I was referring to the current state of the debate, as opposed to making any health recommendations myself!

Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

@BigB, you can't actually raise the smoke point of butter by mixing it with a higher smoke point fat...combining the two does not do anything to eliminate the properties that give it a lower smoke point in the first place. If you want that flavor, I'd recommend adding some butter at the end, instead.

Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

@Agoss, I removed the reference to clarified butter, apologies. It does indeed have a smoke point higher than canola, etc.

Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

@BraveUlysses, it should say "Neutral?*" (the asterisk is addressed at the bottom of the chart). It's to indicate whether or not the oil is neutral in flavor.

Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

@Veganwithayoyo, eric b, I have ideas, but not hard facts...I tend to avoid making those sorts of definitive statements because health assessments (ie saturated v. unsaturated fats) are frequently reevaluated. I can speak with some experts and let you know if there's substantial consensus, but I won't venture a guess of my own.

Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

@Sleepy Will, yes, throw away your rancid oil; it'll make your food taste gross and fishy. Fats go rancid gradually, but the first step (reversion) can be caused by all sorts of things—outside particles/odors, heat, light, oxidation, etc. or even existing trace elements within the fat (obviously more common with unrefined oils). In either case, you'll it recognize pretty easily by a fishy smell and flavor. Just don't dump it down the drain—it'll mess up your pipes.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

@pupster, @Liam781, when Trader Joe's has their puff pastry available again, I'll gladly update this taste test. But since we've been running so many puff pastry waffle recipes this week, we wanted to make as much info as possible available immediately. So stay tuned!

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

Wow. I didn't think I made it sound nearly as scary as all that. Just to be clear, I really enjoy making puff pastry from scratch. But unless you have the right surface, adequate fridge/freezer space, and time to devote to repeated chilling and rolling, it's definitely not a breeze. As someone who basically lacks all three of those things, I think it's more than worth it to know what brands are adequate substitutes. (Oh, and I don't dry age beef at home, either.)

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

@Liam781, we went to TJ's and were informed that they don't currently carry it.

Serious Giveaway: Win an iPad Air from Serious Eats and Apartment Therapy!

@shnickyy, sorry, that's the only way to enter.

Cooking Fats 101: What Makes Fats and Oils Essential to Cooking

@moosefight, bt_seats11, these are both things in the works as part of the series!

Cooking Fats 101: What Makes Fats and Oils Essential to Cooking

@BairaagiVN, it's a great idea, though I find all the writing and arrows makes it a little visually confusing as quick-reference guide. I definitely like the idea of organizing the fats along axes. As with anything attempting to gauge healthiness and nutritional value, I'd take it with a grain of salt...with new research indicating that saturated fats don't show a correlation to heart disease and other ailments as previously thought, the healthy-unhealthy rankings may not be as relevant (though all evidence does continue to indicate that trans fats are a no-no). I'd also like to see smoke points in there. We'll have a graphic of our own as part of this series, though. Stay tuned!

Cooking Fats 101: What Makes Fats and Oils Essential to Cooking

@bt_seat511, glad to hear it! The goal is to have the series culminate in an easy-to-navigate guide and index, with each article offering more in-depth information to those interested in the hows and whys. If you have any FAQs you'd like to see addressed, do share and I'll make sure to cover 'em!

Brooklyn on Parade at New York City Wine and Food Festival's Brooklyn's Backyard

Skylight One Hanson was brimming with some serious borough pride this weekend at New York Food and Wine Festival's Brooklyn's Backyard event. 28 local chefs turned out to deliver signature bites to the hungry crowd, serving up everything from spicy lemongrass chicken larb to fudgy ice cream sandwiches. Here's our look at some choice bites from the night,=. More

Lobster Roll Rumble: 19 Lobster Rolls We Ate Last Night

If you're a lobster, you should be pretty nervous around this time of year when TastingTable throws its annual Lobster Roll Rumble. Many pounds of lobster were consumed last night—boatloads, in fact, and that really isn't an exaggeration in this case. Lobster shacks and restaurants from across the country participated to show off their versions of the lobster roll. See all 19 that we ate! More